As we start the week, it’s important to take a couple minutes to acknowledge and thank the dedicated group of animal lovers who run our local animal shelters. To say that working or volunteering in a shelter is challenging, would be an understatement of the highest proportions. From the budgetary shortages to the long hours to dealing with people who discard their pets like used toys, there’s a never ending barrage of negative energy that can really impact those that work in this environment. And let’s not forget that there’s no holidays or days off when you have mouths to feed and babies to care for.
But there is also joy. The satisfaction in helping a person or family find that furry friend that their life has been missing. The smiles on countless faces as they leave the shelter with a new member of the family. That can make it worth the countless hours involved in operating a facility that strives to help re-home abandoned pets.
There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters in the US, that serve an estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals each year, of which, only about half are adopted. And it’s important to note that of the 63% of American households that include pets, fewer than 20% of them were adopted from shelters.
Animal shelters are a vital resource for the communities they serve. Shelters not only provide a safe haven for unwanted or lost pets, they also provide crucial services from spaying and neutering to help reduce pet overpopulation, to providing education on how to care for animals, investigating reports of cruelty and neglect, and let’s not forget reuniting lost pets with their families.
My sister, Jenn Merritt, CPDT-KA, and co-founder of Good Dog in Box, knows all too well what it’s like to work in a shelter environment. She’s volunteered time in a number of facilities over the past 15 years. “The majority of dogs that are given up by their families are good dogs. But, they lacked the skills that they needed to be good members of their family,” said Jenn Merritt. This was one of the motivations in founding Good Dog in a Box, to give families the tools and education they need to help their new dog become a good citizen and well behaved member of the family.
Here at Good Dog in a Box, we want to help our local shelters. As our way of saying thank you, Good Dog in a Box created the Good Dog Partner Program. Free for shelters and rescues to join, the program provides free educational resources like the SAFE dog bite prevention program, the free “Welcome Home Video Training Series” for new dog parents (premiering in Spring 2017), and shares in revenue of our new product line of positive reinforcement based dog tools and games, launching later this week. A portion of every sale generated from a shelter or rescue partner goes directly back to that organization to help with the monetary requirements. We’re also allowing shelters and rescues to purchase and resell a select group of products to help their new dog parents be better, more responsible owners.
But there are others who are speaking up about shelters this week. PBS has teamed up with Martha the Dog from the children’s book series, “Martha Speaks,” to draw attention to National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. Suggestions on how you can get involved include:
- adopting your next pet from a shelter
- liking a local shelter on Facebook
So to all the shelters and rescues out there, thank you for what you do. There is no day off or holiday when you have someone depending on you for food and water, and for that, we as a nation are thankful.